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What is Mole, from Mexico? Chocolate, Spice and More

Updated on May 19, 2012

One version of Mole Poblano Sauce

Mole and chicken, yum!

An Example of Mole Used in a Recipe

The dark sauce in the picture is one type of mole
The dark sauce in the picture is one type of mole | Source

Mole, a wonderful sauce

What exactly is Mole?

Mole basically means a combination of ingredients mixed together. It is pronounced "moe lay". I had no idea how many different varieties there were, from different regions, and even how many different colors there were until I researched it more. Its a wonderful part of Mexican cuisine, and if you have never tried it, I highly recommend you do at least once. It is an experience in and of itself. Chocolate dates way back in recipes like stews and salsas in Mexico. You can find it in many more restaurants now, more than I ever remember growing up. So this great idea is continuing to grow in popularity in regards to making Mexican dishes better and better.

Some of My Experiences with Mole

I have a dear friend, who was born in Mexico City and whose parents lived for a wile in Oaxaca Mexico. After they came back to the states, I was privileged enough to taste many authentic Mexican dishes. Having lived in Southern California for all my life up to that time, I thought I knew what good Mexican food was. Turns out I had barely begun to learn about the diversity of Mexican Cuisine. Its a wonderful and amazing cuisine, and mole was something new and wonderful to try. I recall first being offered some authentic mole sauce, and I looked at my friend a little curious, and she said, "there is even chocolate in it! Try it, you will love it." So I did, and was amazed at the layers of flavors and level of richness. It lends incredible flavor to anything it is used with.

Different Types of Mole and Regional Influences

While mole often conjures up images of a rich chocolatey type of sauce, sometimes you can find moles that have no chocolate in them at all. For example, in certain parts of Mexico, like Oaxaca (where my dear friend is from) and Puebla, the percentage of chocolate in the mole sauces is really very minimal. They do use a lot of different colored dried chiles however, which imparts a color similar to the chile itself. I love that my husband is trying to incorporate more ideas with chiles we grow ourselves into sauces like these. I am more of a gardener than a cook sometimes, so I leave the cooking of rich recipes like these up to him.

Depending on the region, you will find different moles in Mexico. The simpler every day kinds of moles are called molitos. In Michoacan, you won't likely find people putting sweet things into their sauces. Even the time of the year you can find variances in the mole sauces that you will come across in Mexico. That makes sense with the use of fresh ingredients so often and times of harvest, etc.

My friends mother that first served me mole, made the more dark and rich mole with spicy chocolate in it. There are however, different colors like green, or verde, and yellow moles as well. The kind I am most used to, from Oaxaca, is the black mole.

I hope to try more mole recipes very soon. The next one I would like to make would be a simple one with cinnamon, cloves, garlic, onion and maybe some freshly ground peppercorns.

If you have never tried it, do try it. Don't be put off by the fact it may not look like anything you have tried before, or that it can sometimes have a uniqu consistency and very dark color to it. It is wonderful.

Poll on Mole

Have you ever tried Mole sauce?

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    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thanks for the comment Paul. You are not the first that has told me that!

    • PaulStaley1 profile image

      PaulStaley1 6 years ago from With the wind---(or against it)

      Mole negro from Oaxaca! To die for!

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Phoenix, Mexican food is something I crave fairly often!

    • PhoenixV profile image

      PhoenixV 7 years ago from USA

      Love Mexican food!

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Simone, it would be great to find some great vegetarian mole recipes, I will have to get on that! You shouldn't have to miss out just because you are vegetarian. On with the hunt!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 7 years ago from San Francisco

      Wow- it's fun to read the background on this dish, which I'm so intrigued by. When I was little, my dad always ordered it for himself, and I never tried it because I was such a picky eater.

      As I grew older, I developed a true love for chiles and chocolate and rich savory sauces- mole is my kind of thing! Alas, I also became a vegetarian- hence I've never actually tried it!! I sincerely hope you enjoy mole on my behalf as well- haaa. It's a gastronomic tragedy that I can't try it! Unless... do you know of any vegetarian mole recipes?

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Leslie, Glad you stopped by, and thank you for the comment. Ocean

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hi Carolina, thank you for the comment. I love it too!

    • Leslie Jo Barra profile image

      Leslie Jo Barra 7 years ago

      I first tried mole poblana when I did study abroad in Mexico. It is great.

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      I love this stuff !!!!!